Update on S. 1

Two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer failed to get the 60 votes necessary to end the filibuster of S. 2093, the ever so slightly revised “Corrupt Politicians Act,” previously numbered S. 1. Every Republican voted to filibuster, while every Democrat voted to advance the bill—including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin who claimed to oppose the bill until shortly before the vote.

Manchin was the only Senate Democrat not to cosponsor the bill and even wrote an op-ed a few weeks ago announcing his opposition to it. So what changed? A deal was struck with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer whereby in exchange for voting to advance the bill, Manchin could offer an amendment on the floor to make some changes to the language.

While some of Manchin’s changes were positive, such as eliminating public funding of campaigns, most were either neutral or bad, and none were guaranteed to actually pass.

Perhaps the worst part of Manchin's compromise is it left in place the rules imposed on groups like Campaign for Liberty which would prevent our ability to communicate with our supporters and the general public about their elected legislators’ voting records and candidates’ views on important liberty issues. This provision would make it impossible for us to effectively mobilize grassroots activists.

Manchin's compromise—combined with his recent statement that he would be open to “reforming” the filibuster—prove he is an untrustworthy politician who will talk a good game of independence but ultimately will find a way to cave to Chuck Schumer and the rest of his party's leadership. Therefore, we must never take anything for granted with him or any other politician.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Manchin may agree to modify the filibuster to help pass his preferred version of the “Corrupt Politicians Act.” This is especially likely since Schumer and other Democrats, as well as leading progressives, have pledged to keep working to pass this bill. They are also using the Republican's success in blocking the bill to double down on efforts to get rid of or “reform” the filibuster.

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